News

Hazel Wright comments on High Court ruling that Islamic faith marriage falls within English matrimonial law in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, the Daily Express, Family Law Week and Scottish Legal News

  • August 01, 2018
  • By Hazel Wright, Partner

In the Independent Review into the application of Sharia Law in England and Wales, published in February 2018, it was acknowledged that Sharia Councils cannot celebrate legally binding marriages. This is unlike the position for other faiths, such as Christianity and Judaism, which do not have this “double ceremony” requirement. But those following these faiths may want to have a religious divorce (for example a get for Jewish people) which is not the same as a court ordered divorce.

Over 90% of those approaching Sharia Councils about divorce are women, who are particularly disadvantaged if their relationship breaks down, due to their financially inferior position. An Islamic divorce is like an Islamic marriage – not recognised by the court for the purposes of the claims that arise on divorce from a legally valid marriage.

The laws about whether a marriage is valid or void were first made in 1949, just after the Second World War, at a time when the Muslim population of this country was far smaller than it is now. Part of the reason for the Independent Review was to look at and make recommendations for bringing the regulation of marriages up to date for Muslims. The recommendation is that all Islamic marriages should be linked to civil registration and that it is the role of the Imam to make this happen.

Hazel Wright, partner at Hunters Solicitors, commented:

“The law on cohabitation in this country is out of date and unsatisfactory. Now those who would have been outside the scope of the law to help them can seek compensation in the courts if their spouse has deliberately refused to have a civil ceremony after a religious ceremony.

“Ms Akhtar and Mr Khan both knew that their Sharia marriage was not a legally registered marriage. It became vital for Ms Akhtar that the English divorce court rule in her favour, that the marriage should be recognised as void, and not a non-marriage. Otherwise she would not have any rights to make any financial claims for herself.

“The ruling that this marriage was just like a marriage for the couple, their families and friends, and indeed it satisfied the UAE authorities, and so was a void marriage has given heart to many who otherwise suffer discrimination.

“An Independent Review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales, published in February 2018 and commissioned by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, calls for a regime of public education about the legal status of Sharia law. Sadly, it is quite likely that, as with the defusing of the idea of “common law marriage” (which is and can only ever be cohabitation), this won’t be enough.”

Read the full article in The GuardianThe Telegraph, The Independent (also syndicated in Yahoo! News here), the Daily Express, Family Law Week and Scottish Legal News.


Related News

Sep 21, 2022
Olivia Piercy featured in a Q&A in Today’s Family Lawyer on her career path and the areas of family law undergoing transformation
Sep 06, 2022
Constance Tait discusses maintenance and inflation in 2022
Sep 06, 2022
Hunters Law shortlisted at the Family Law Awards 2022
Sep 05, 2022
Olivia Piercy joins Hunters Law as a Partner in the Family Department
Jun 29, 2022
Hunters’ Family Department highlighted in the 2022 edition of the Spear’s Family Law Index
Jun 15, 2022
Philippa Kum and Eri Horrocks outline top tips for co-parents on agreeing arrangements for children in EPrivateClient
Jun 13, 2022
Amy Scollan and Anastassia Dimmek examine what happens to an art collection when couples divorce in Antiques Trade Gazette
Jun 08, 2022
Amy Scollan and Anastassia Dimmek discuss the distribution of artwork during divorce proceedings in EPrivateClient
May 12, 2022
Eri Horrocks examines post-separation assets in Today’s Family Lawyer
May 03, 2022
Polly Atkins reviews guidance on applications for security for costs in Family Law Journal

© Hunters Law LLP 2022 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)